Hilton Als at The Artist’s Institute

Images: Courtesy of The Artist's Institute

June 26 2016

The Romance of Certain Old Clothes: Sheryl Sutton, My Mother, My Sister, Senga Nengudi, and the Rest, the third exhibition in Hilton Als’s season at The Artist’s Institute in Manhattan will open this Monday, June 27, with a reception from 6-8pm and will be on view through August 7.

Recently relocated from their original Lower East Side space to a townhouse on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, The Artist’s Institute at Hunter College operates as a non-profit research and exhibition space for contemporary art. Under the curatorial eye of Director Jenny Jaskey and Associate Curator A.E. Benenson, The Artist’s institute invites a single, contemporary artist to present work over a six-month season. The duration of the season leaves space for discovery – and important component of the Institute’s mission.

The current season is dedicated to the work of Hilton Als, a writer and artist known primarily as the theater critic at The New Yorker and as author of The Women and White Girls. While this will not be Als’s first foray into visual art or curation, it is the first time that the writer has been subject of an exhibition.

Als’s season at The Artists Institute is a practice in memoir, he describes it as an ‘emotional retrospective’. The collected works of friends, collaborators and Als himself assemble into visual essays – concise and thoughtful ­–­ on subjects familiar to readers of Als’s work; expression, identity, the work of James Baldwin. The first exhibition, a collection of photography in a dim gallery, One Man Show: Holly, Candy, Bobbie and the Rest was an exploration on the idea of self as told by the transgender and drag performers who determined their selves through pure intuition.

Peppered with readings, lectures and screenings in conversation with Als’s work – the season feels just an exam shy of a curriculum on the subject of Als. The second mounting, James Baldwin/Jim Brown and the Children was a rumination on James Baldwin and black queer writers and artists such as Julius Eastman, Jesse Murry and Gary Fisher. Queerness, Blackness, and the AIDS crisis are explored through Als’s ever intimate lens – Baldwin in his “high-faggot style” is a frequent topic of Als’s.

The third exhibition in the series, The Romance of Certain Old Clothes: Sheryl Sutton, My Mother, My Sister, Senga Nengudi, takes it’s title from a Henry James story whose Victorian repression is much akin to the pressures 20th century America imposed on it’s outsiders. The show will open this Monday, June 27th and will be on view through August.

Visit The Artist’s Institute for more information.